We should apologize first. It's been years since we've seen the Star Wars trilogy, so this review may not correctly name characters, weapons, and Death Stars (well, okay, we've got that one). Fortunately, Charlie Ross has all of it right on the tip of his tongue and is happy to offer it in an exhaustingly enthusiastic performance from a galaxy far, far away in the One Man Star Wars Trilogy.
Anyone can parody the iconic Star Wars opening, as yellow text floats deep into space (we just did in the last graph, if you're not paying attention). But once Ross mimes Darth Vader's first entrance into the hull of a federation ship, fans will know he's not a drive-by comedian mocking the sci-fi classic.
Ross skips the exposition (to great comedic effect) and offers each character with a seminal trait: the whinny teen angst of Luke Skywalker (he was so 90210 before there was a 90210) and the Jersey Shore bravado of Han Solo.
Ross has spent more than eight years refining these characters, providing a hilarious rendering of Jabba The Hutt and a Death Star explosion that bests any performance you've seen on Dancing with the Stars. His Imperial Walker is the highlight of the show, and we promise you'll never look at the ass of those towering, four-legged machines the same way again.
There's also some biting, yet subtle, commentary.
There is just as much nostalgia in Ross' performance as there is comedic recreations. Because of that, we were sometimes left missing scenes we wanted to see Ross run through with his sharp tongue, particularly Han's exchange with Greedo in the bar.
The crowd at the show is much younger than you're typical Piccolo audience, and even a little younger than the average Fringer. It's family-friendly enough, complete with a good lesson about kissing your sister. Ross couldn't resist offering us a sneak peek at what may be his 2011 Fringe offering, with a surprise cameo from Gollum.
On an unrelated note: We really miss the classic seating of the American Theater. The economics of having a grand banquet space is understandable (and it is grand), but we miss those theater buckets.
One Man Star Wars Trilogy is a finely tuned minimalist feat, with just a little audio and lighting changes necessary mid-performance at the opening. Nearly a decade in, we wonder what a mulitmedia rendering would do to the show, then again, we've seen what happens when George Lucas goes back to muck around with a masterpiece.